Tag Archives: deadlifts

Weight Training – June 25th

After teaching an Open Class for one of my elementary schools I headed over to Accion gym for a little me time.

Just Tell Me ‘Bout Them Lifts, Bro

Front squats 5×5, deadlifts 3×5, pull-ups 8, dips 7 and the usual hip exercises.

My front squats are slowly making progress. I was wondering just how much more stronger my squat was compared to my front squat, so even after my five sets, I slapped on some extra weight, did a single rep, added more and kept going until I found myself squating my bodyweight. Surprisingly, my front squats are nowhere near that. It’s probably because of my deadlifts, my back feels more comfortable carrying the barbell than my shoulders do.

Speaking of the deadlift, it must have been the combination of heat (Japan is crazy hot now) and the extra lifting I did that made me think boy am I tired at the lock out of my fifth rep on the third set. Walked around a bit, drank an entire liter of BCAA infused water then drank even more water, went to do ten pull-ups and dips, couldn’t, and then called it a day.

Gimmie a Finisher, Bro
While I was working out, a group of JR High School students and their coaches started their workout routine – Snatches and Clean & Jerks.

These kids, boys and girls, were putting a lot of grown men that only do 9kg db curls to shame, because not only were they lifting weights that a majority of people there wouldn’t even dare touch, they were picking it off the ground and putting it above their heads.

The snatch and the clean & jerk are lifts that I would love to incorparate. First and foremost, they’re very technical exercises and us jiu-jitsu folk have a thing for being technical. Plus, just imagine the speed and power you could generate from those exercises, and put those aspects to work in jiu-jitsu or submission grappling! TEE HEE!

It just goes to show that when strength and technique go hand in hand, great things can be accomplished.


Some Info on Knee Injury Prevention and Recovery

My friend Brent “popped” his knee last night during practice. I wasn’t there personally but heard about it from him. He got it checked out and there was some MCL damage. Nothing serious, yet in light of it I thought it best to throw out some basic tips and warning signs to watch out for.

Be Strong
The most pro-active step to ensure that injuries hardly occur is to focus on strength. Now this may fly against the “strength isn’t necessary to succeed in jiu-jitsu” mentality, but proper strength does have its benefits.

Let’s focus on knee injuries for now.

Strengthening all the major muscle groups, and supporting muscles and tissues will lower the chances of an injury. Furthermore, weight training should be applied in an intelligent manner, never blindly. This means that rushing into a gym to do three sets of leg presses till failure or going out running to make gains isn’t the best way of approaching strength.

Exercises should not be solely be quad-dominant, but should especially target the posterior chain as well. The posterior chain includes the hamstrings, glutes (hips) and lower back, and is directly tied to the knee providing support and stablization. The squat and the deadlift are excellent posterior chain exercises.

Other posterior chain exercises include pull-throughs, good mornings and ham-glute raises. Having any or, better still, all of these exercises in your workout routine would be a good step in guarding against knee injuries.

Be Healthy
A history of injuries can be viewed as a way to prevent them as it is a very good indicator of potential future occurrances. Think about it, an injury means an inability to perform at 100%, and any machismo attitude of “training through an injury” is traumatic and damaging in the long run.

There are instances of injuries caused by direct impact – two people collide with great force leaving one person with a torn tendon or a broken bone – however most cases are due to wear and tear. The muscles and tissues are not strong and healthy enough to perform at the desired level, so something gives. An injury should be given ample time to heal and allowing the body to completely recover is very important.

Massages and soft tissue work with either a foam roller or tennis balls are other ways to improve the quality of muscles and overall tissue health. Ideally, these can be done after a workout or any activity for the best results possible and to speed recovery although just taking the time to include enough rest and recover will prolong the amount of time we dedicate to training or to the active things we enjoy.

And in the case of jiu-jitsu, let’s hope that it’s lifelong.

Weight Training – June 16th

Sam was busy so it was solo weight training today.

Just Tell Me ‘Bout Them Lifts, Bro
Deadlifts 5×5, front squats 3×5, lunges and reverse lunges 2×5, and hip exercises.

I should be doing more upper body and shoulder exercises but it’s been a week since the last time I went to the gym and I find the time away takes a huge chunk off of my progress. My deadlifts were the only thing I could maintain, my progress in my other exercises and target areas have stalled.

Pro tip: if you want to slow down and possibly set yourself back, skip out on a day.

Cool Stories for Ya, Bro
Going to the gym provides a ripe opportunity to witness strange behaviour. Far more stranger than anyone I’ve encountered training in the martial arts. Almost.

The Narcissist
In Japan the word narcissist – typically seen in katakana as「ナルシスト」- has a deluted meaning. More akin to being poking fun at others than anything else. There’s was an older gentleman training who would fit the Japanesey term perfectly.

He looked to be in his late 50s/early 60s, sported a lifting belt and wore the classic far too tiny pumping-iron tank top which he didn’t come close to filling out.

After every set, no matter what exercise he did, he flexed his biceps, chest and quads in front of the mirror. Sometimes he’d do them right in front of me while I was doing my lunges. Sheesh. Way to make me lose count.

The Bicep Guy
Yup, you know him. The bicep guy. That’s all he does. Seated bicep curls, db bicep curls, barbell bicep curls. Several sets.

The only difference is this guy was pulling 9 kg at the most. Oh no, wait. He was curling a 10 kg barbell, that’s heavier than 9 kg. Oh no, wait. That’s 10 kg shared over both arms.

ಠ_ಠ See that? That look of disapproval is for you bicep guy.

Let’s hope I run into them next week. I’ll try to strike up a conversation and see what’s up with them. Whee! Gym is fun!

Weight Training – June 5th and 9th

Looking back at my posts I realized that I missed a workout session. Yikes!

June 5th Lifts, Bro
Standard leg warm-ups and stretches. Front squats 3×5, snatch grip deadlifts 3×5, lunges 3×5 and my hip exercises.

June 9th Lifts, Bro
Standard leg warm-ups, deadlifts 5×5, DB rows 3×5, Upright rows 3×5, pull-ups (3) and dips (7) followed by my hip exercises.

Gimme a Finisher, Bro
It feels like I’m settling into my weekly routine. I like the way my body feels after weight training a lot more than I do after jiu-jitsu practice. Well that makes sense cause I’m not sparring in class, not very long nor at full intensity. But I really enjoy the feeling of being tired the next day from lifting. On a day I don’t feel tired it seems like I have heaps of energy just pouring out of me, which usually happens on a jiu-jitsu day and makes sitting on the sidelines far more worse than it is.

For the most part, I’m really have to say is that my right leg feels strong. It doesn’t hurt and it doesn’t bother me. My flexiblity is slowly coming back though it’s not at pre-injury levels yet. Surprisingly my right leg feels better than my left leg. Before I had surgery I casually mentioned that my left knee was bothering me as well – nowhere near as bad as my right knee at that time – but after two years of my right leg taking center stage I’m finding that my left leg is starting to remind me of its current condition. Nothing really to worry about, just something to keep an eye on.

Other than that, I’m feel amazing. I wonder how much better I’ll feel with a couple more weeks of front squats and lunges under my belt.

Weight Training – June 2nd

Went weight training with Sam on Thursday.

I don’t know if it was the weather we’ve been having (hot then cold then back to hot again) or something but both Sam and I weren’t feeling it. We were just sluggish and tired for some strange reason. I felt really good on Wednesday, even after jiu-jitsu practice, and I really wanted to weight train then but knew that I have Thursdays with Sam so I waited a day.

Just Tell Me ‘Bout Them Lifts, Bro
New stretching movement warm-up for my knee, deadlifts 3×5, bench 3×5, db rows 3×5, upright rows 3×5 and only seven pull-ups. Didn’t even feel like doing front squats.

I felt like I really didn’t work that hard, no DOMS, but when I got to my third set of deadlifts I barely finished it. I took it as a sign that it wasn’t going to be a good lift day. I just couldn’t pull the weight. Diet, weather, rest or recovery time – whatever the reason it just wasn’t happening.

Gimmie a Finisher, Bro
I’m a tad disappointed in myself. Strength training is not as difficult as jiu-jitsu, slighty easier, not much though, but just as demanding.

Perhaps it might have to do with my very light snatch grip deadlift session last time. I was a step backwards for me. Maybe it’s due to my jiu-jitsu training. I did go twice in a row but I didn’t spar. I should be well rested. Sigh.

Whatever the case I hope I’m in better shape/condition for next time.

Weight Training – May 28th

Had a very light session at Accion gym with Sam this past Saturday.

When I got there Sam had been riding a stationary bike for over 7 minutes. He was ready to go.

Just Tell Me ‘Bout Them Lifts, Bro
I switched things up and altered my routine. I decided to do front squats instead of regular squats because both the squat and the deadlift place stress on the lower back. And, because of that, progress in one exercise will mean the other stagnates if done on the same day. Unless you’ve been hitting the squats and the deadlift on separate days building enough strength in both areas until you’re capable to do both exercises on a single workout day, but usually that ain’t happening and we’ll either lack enough time to dedicate both exercises separately. Such is my case.

Front squats focus more on the quads and don’t require as much of the hips as the squat or the deadlift do. I need to boost my leg strength, 60 bodyweight squats are great for endurance, however if I’m going to be sparring at a high intensity – and everyone in my jiu-jitsu school does – I’ll need stronger legs, not just to benefit my jiu-jitsu, but mostly to prevent future knee injuries.

So, front squats 3×5, snatch grip deadlifts 3×5, reverse lunges 3×5. I felt good at the end of that so I “finished” with 13 pull-ups, 5 chin-ups and 16 dips. And I did my hip exercises too.

If you’ve never done front squats before, the hardest thing about them is the grip. Form’s easy. No flexion of the back as you would the squat or deadlift. Straight as an arrow. The grip on the other hand… jeez, to put it in jiu-jitsu terms, it’s like placing yourself in a pain compliance wristlock. Just the bar alone made me want to stop. So it was just 20 kilos for me, thank you very much. Until I get comfortable with the grip, I’m sticking to 20 kilos for now.

By the way, if you noticed I also switched my deadlifts. The snatch grip deadlift works more of the upper back muscles, I wasn’t sure of how knackered I’d be from switching exercises, so I went light. Today my DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness for you non-lifters) were non-existent. DOMS usually come after a hard session or with unfamiliar exercises. Since I nothing is as sore as it could be, I’m pushing my snatch grip deadlifts limits for next time.

Gimmie a Finisher, Bro
Sam on the other hand did a whole assortment of exercises. Since he can only make it to the gym once a week, his routine is a bit haphazard, targeting everything that gets worked out in jiu-jitsu. If he had the time I’d tell him to split his routine. He is making gains, he is getting stronger, but his progress would obviously be faster if he had an extra day in the week. He doesn’t though and he doesn’t let that get in the way of his workouts. I’m proud of him for putting in the effort he does now.

Oh, switching out my exercises weren’t the only thing I switched. As Sam was doing bench I asked him for some British slang that I could use when he completes a set so I don’t have to say “awesome” or “right on” everytime. So after he taught me a few, I settled on “wicked” and “safe” and did a horrible job of saying them in a London accent.

Sam wanted to give the sauna a try as we finished early, but as we mentioned that we saw a group of loud high schoolers fresh from the swimming pool head into the locker room. Sure enough we heard them in the showers and in the sauna. No one likes a noisy sauna so we passed – I didn’t have a towel as well – for next time. Safe.